There are many good video essay channels out there, but one that was particularly instructive to me was Every Frame a Painting. Sadly, they will cease to produce content. A tip of the hat to Alex4D for alerting me, as he points out that the Postmortem includes tips for making videos of this type. The key being, Final Cut Pro X’s keyword feature – something that I try to use more and more in my projects.
I wanted to feature four of my favorite essays from their YouTube channel, which Tony Zhou assures us will stick around.
The first is the feature on Chuck Jones – he of Bugs Bunny, The Grinch, and other cartoon icons fame. Jones’ impeccable comedy timing is highlighted of course, but it’s his characters, and the character development that makes watching this essay so valuable. Zhou states that every character has simple desires, and the more simple the desire, the more vivid the character. And what this essay ultimately shows in a beautiful way is the evolution of Chuck Jones, the artist.
The next feature is an analysis of the brilliant Akira Kurosawa, specifically the use of movement in his films. I love how Zhou speaks not only of movement of the characters, but even of basic elements such as wind, fire, and rain that add layers to the storytelling in a scene. There’s even a fun poke at The Avengers movie and its missed opportunity to use more compelling movement. Flat indeed.
Next up is an essay called The Spielberg Oner – a “oner” being a scene done as one continuous “long take” – Goodfellas, Touch of Evil, etc. This essay looks at the unique approach that Spielberg uses which is to include these long takes in a not so obvious way.
Finally – Buster Keaton. Genius. Needs no introduction, just the title, “The Art of the Gag” – Keaton was a true artist. So good.
Every Frame a Painting!